The Telling

The Telling

Book - 2016 | First edition.
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A series of murders that are eerily similar to the dark stories Lana's deceased brother used to tell start happening in her home town, threatening her newfound popularity.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster BFYR, [2016]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781481418898
1481418890
Branch Call Number: TEEN SIROWY
Characteristics: 387 pages ; 22 cm

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goddessbeth
Jan 19, 2019

I was underprepared for how lovely this YA murder mystery is. I could not put it down! Like the best mysteries, it twists and turns, using the MC's perception and assumptions to draw the reader down false paths and impossible considerations.

This book pulls no punches- the MC's beloved step-brother was murdered two months before the narrative begins, and her mother committed suicide when she was only 4. Lana is introspective and dreamy, observing others rather than taking risks. Her depression is real and visceral, and her emotional decisions are so authentically teenaged (without being shallow and frustrating) that I had a really time stopping to go to bed. I didn't just want to figure out the mystery, I wanted to see where Lana went.

I was totally pleased by the ending- not just the resolution of the mystery, but the resolution of Lana's growth as a character. Everything in this book is messy and complicated and real- familial bonds, friendships, self-awareness. It's charming and slightly otherworldly and sad. And then there are frenetic moments of real danger (where, thankfully, the characters don't do idiotic heroic things, or withhold crucial information for no reason).

Overall, I recommend this book for fans of murder mystery (even if YA isn't your thing- this story is not juvenile), realistic characters, and atmospheric settings. Did I mention it takes place not only in Seattle, but in what appears to be a fictional take on one of my favorite islands by Seattle (Bainbridge)?

a
aliciamarie
Aug 20, 2016

I am so all over the board with this book and what I want to rate it. I liked parts of it, but there were definite parts that I really, really disliked. This will be a short, quick review because it's really hard to go in depth without spoilers.

The overall plot to this story is very intriguing. There's just such a scary aspect about a murderer running loose on a small island community. Is it a stranger or someone they know? Though it took a little bit to get into this book, once I understood what happened before I was hooked. Then things started to go downhill...

So here is what just didn't "do" it for me: the characters. There were a couple that I really liked but most of them were shallow, annoying, and very predictable. The characters are all in high school and I feel that the author took a group of generic high school stereotypes and added them to the book. Their words and actions were so predictable. It got boring fast.

Lana, the main character was interesting at first. Her inner thoughts and dialog about the loss of her step brother and the relationship between her and her best friend were deep and interesting. It added to the story. But once the group of friends started getting murdered and dropping like flies our first person narrator quickly became repetitive. It's like her personality plateaued and she had nothing left to give to the story. The constant inner dialog of how much she loved and missed her stepbrother simply interrupted and took away what was happening with the story.

That leads me to the length of this book. Half this book is Lana's inner dialog. We get it, she loves and missed her stepbrother. "I miss Ben... I loved Ben. Ben once told me ____. I wish Ben were still here with me." I understood that from the beginning. No need to reiterate it over and over again. I could have done without reading half the book and still understood the depth of love she has for Ben.

The predictability of the plot is laughable. The murders are very specific to the weird stories her step brother Ben used to tell her. Lana seems so smart. Why did it take her so long to realize this? Why then does she decide not to go to the police with this info and her and her friends attempt to find the murderer themselves? Too much, just too much. It was like reading a bad 90's teen slasher film.

I give this book 3 stars. It did suck me in at first and seemed to really be going somewhere. Then it turned predictable and boring. Just because I didn't exactly love it, doesn't mean other readers won't. It's a fast, easy read so if you like YA thrillers with major teen drama then give it a try!

Thanks to Netgalley and Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing for allowing me to read and review this egalley.

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